Here comes Market Days! I was walking through downtown last week, thinking about the preparations for the annual celebration of all things Concord. I couldn’t help but think about last year’s event. It was a big deal for a few of us aging rock ‘n rollers. The Rhythm Crazies reunited for a “30th Anniversary Show” at Bicentennial Square on June 23, 2018. We’d been a bunch of twenty-somethings with rock ‘n roll dreams (or delusions) back in 1988, and played our first gig at THUMS (now Penuche’s), only a guitar pick’s throw away from the Homegrown Stage at Market Days. Our little run as a band lasted only a few years, but there we were, three decades later, getting ready to bust out our “rock ‘n roll lunch hour.”
On that beautiful June day, the Rhythm Crazies dialed up the amps, pounded on the drums and hung from the scaffolding for an hour or so. It was loud. It was pretty loose and rough around the edges. We played songs that were, in a few cases, written almost three decades before, in a house at 35 Dunklee St. in the South End of Concord. None of us knew that it would be our last blast as a quartet.
What we did know was that age, and our beliefs about it, are arbitrary. We all make assumptions about what a person “should” or “shouldn’t” be doing at a certain age. We also know countless exceptions to these “rules of aging.” And the great “yogi” who brought this all to light was our guitar player, friend and all-around weirdo, Marc Bisson. That June day was our last blast as a quartet because Marc is no longer with us. Maybe that’s why he wanted to play that last show. I’ll be forever grateful to him for spearheading the effort.
The Rhythm Crazies got together for four Sundays to pound out a set of songs. I remember talking about keeping the volume down. We still ended up shaking the walls of our little rehearsal space. At one point, one old geezer (me) said: “Guys, it’s just too loud. I’m too old for this.” Our drummer, the great architect and Ween fan John Jordan, said simply: “Mike, it’s rock ‘n roll. It’s supposed to be loud.” Yes, indeed. Rock ‘n roll is music designed to challenge the status quo. It’s designed to push you a bit outside of your comfort zone.
Perhaps you can see where I’m going with this. Yoga, like rock ‘n roll, is designed to challenge your beliefs in who you are, and what you can do. It’s mind ‘n body work that’s designed to push you a bit outside of your comfort zone.
When you challenge your belief in yourself, and get more comfortable in your own skin, it’s like learning a good power chord on the guitar. It might be a little rough around the edges, but string enough of those power chords together and you’ve got a classic rock song.
There’s no question that our bodies change as we get older, and having a realistic approach to that is important. To think, however, that you can’t do certain things just because you are of a certain age doesn’t make a lot of sense. Don’t get me wrong. I like a good birthday celebration. I see another year on the calendar as important because it offers us a chance at introspection. That’s the true value of another year gone by: it’s a regular opportunity to look within ourselves and see where we are, if we want to be there, and what we’re going to do about it.
During our rehearsals, Marc was having some numbness in his picking arm and hand. He was able to play for a while, then would have to stop and do something else, like talk. He was an amazing talker. Always the yoga teacher, I took one of those opportunities to show him a simple yoga move he might try. He did, and stuck with it for the month. It helped pretty dramatically, and Marc used the opportunity to dial up the volume a little louder.
In the end, my friends, it’s really all about communication. It’s all about people needing people: whether you are listening to the next great rock ‘n roll band on the Homegrown Stage, or rolling out your mat for a hot yoga class, or walking down a wide open Main Street with your friends. We live in a great little corner of the earth, right here in the capital of N.H. Somewhere, Marc Bisson is playing a Strat through a Fender Twin turned up to 11. And I hope he’s still doing those yoga moves.
(Mike Morris is the owner of Hot House NH Yoga & Pilates.)